Saturday felt just like Christmas Eve. Excitement, anxiousness, nervousness; all of those feelings kept rushing through my head and turning my stomach. To say I had butterflies was an understatement. I packed everything the night before, but I was still worried I had left something behind, what could be worse than leaving your shoes at home. Once I was ready to go, we started the long drive to Columbus. I dropped Darren off with some friends so he could watch the Buckeyes, and I went straight to the hotel for a few hours. The plan was to get to the expo, relax for a while then have some dinner, keep the day easy and get plenty of rest for the race. Luckily, I was able to meet up with some fellow Muskie alums to check out the expo. We all ran cross country and track together, so it was good to have some familiar faces with me on this experience.
Personally I didn’t think the expo was as good as last year. There was no wall of names with bib numbers, the official gear from Nike and Second Sole was limited to a few items in XL and the whole space seemed to be much smaller. It was a little bit of a low point, but I quickly got over it and spent probably too much on things I didn’t need. But you only have one first marathon, why not go all the way. I was lucky enough to score some great deals and walked away with a handful of shirts, a fleece jacket, some bondibands, some amazing new shoes and a few other things.
After the expo I headed out to have dinner with a high school friend who was also running her first marathon. We’ve been running together since we were 13, so there was no other way to prepare for the night before a race than having a home cooked meal and some cupcakes for good luck, just like we did in middle school and high school. It was a great way to get our minds off the race and catch up on life.
Soon after dinner I left to pick up Darren and headed back to the hotel. The hours before I’d be waking up on race day were now limited to minutes. I made sure to set everything out, changed my race outfit about twenty times and had a good talk with my dad before I went to bed. Everything was becoming real now, the next time I woke up I would be running a marathon, and hopefully becoming a marathoner a few hours later. I struggled with sleep, tossing and turning, waking up every hour thinking I’d slept in, reassuring myself that my alarm was set, I wouldn’t miss this race for anything….